Pakistani filmmaker and Oscar winner Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, from Saving Face fame, is set to embark on a journey to a galaxy far far away. Hollywood history was made this past weekend at Star Wars Celebration as they announced their upcoming theatrical slate and mentioned one of the new films will be directed by Sharmeen.
Kathleen Kennedy, the President of Lucasfilm, had a panel on Friday, 7th April at Star Wars Celebration. She announced three new films for a franchise that hasn’t been in theatres since 2019. One of these films, set after the events of Star Wars Episode XI: The Rise of Skywalker, will be directed by Sharmeen.
This marks several milestones for the franchise and Hollywood blockbuster filmmaking in general. Let’s discuss the exciting implications and possible concerns regarding this announcement.
A New Jedi Order
The film is going to be penned by Steven Knight of Peaky Blinders fame. It is set more than a decade after the events of Star Wars Episode XI: The Rise of Skywalker following Daisy Ridley’s Rey Skywalker as she is tasked with having to rebuild the Jedi Order.
This is huge for the franchise which had not seen a theatrical release since Episode XI and had completely moved to the streaming space with hits like The Mandalorian and Obi-Wan Kenobi.
The project is still in its developmental stages and has not yet been dated.
A Huge Milestone for Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy
Sharmeen, a Pakistani filmmaker, being at the helm of one of Hollywood’s biggest franchise films is no small feat. While women have been directing their streaming shows, this will be the first woman and woman of color to direct a Star Wars film.
Sharmeen of course, is no stranger to franchise work, having directed the fourth and fifth episodes of the similarly monumental Ms. Marvel series on Disney Plus.
Sharmeen spoke exclusively to Galaxy Lollywood saying, “Being a woman in the director’s chair for Star Wars will be special and I’m excited to take the audiences on a journey immersing them in the New Jedi Order“. She also took to Instagram to express her excitement and share some of her insight going into this film.
“I have always been attracted to the heroes journey and the world definitely needs more heroes! – the blueprints of the heroes we see on screen are rooted in reality – I’ve spent my life meeting real life heroes, who have overcome the most oppressive empires and battled impossible odds and that to me is the heart of Star Wars…which is why I was attracted to the promise of a new Jedi Order …And why I’m particularly excited about being immersed inside a Jedi Academy with a powerful Jedi Master”
Congratulations All Around
Celebrities also took to social media as soon as this news broke to congratulate Sharmeen. Mehwish Hayat, who worked with Sharmeen on Ms. Marvel, commented on her post.
Mahira Khan also took to Instagram stories to express excitement.
What This Means for Representation
While Ms. Marvel from its very inception was a story about a Pakistani-American Muslim family, the news of this film opens the door for more meaningful and much-needed representation. So far, we’ve only seen Kumail Nanjiani in Obi-Wan Kenobi where he played a con artist Haja Estree.
But now with Sharmeen at the helm, expect to see more representation across the board, both in front and behind the camera. This is an exciting time indeed considering how poorly Hollywood has treated Pakistani characters and actors in the past. In fact, Sharmeen was right at it, as she walked to the event donning a traditional Pakol cap.
In Ms. Marvel, she got to portray the beauty of Karachi. The Indo-Pak Partition storyline was also handled by her. It being a milestone on its own, being the first time that this part of our history was portrayed on such a global platform in Hollywood. So naturally, we expect more of this from her in her other projects.
We here at Galaxy Lollywood are ecstatic by this development and are very proud of Sharmeen and this constant upward trajectory her career is on. We will be closely following this film and her career. May the force be with her!